You ask, we investigate.
We recently received an email from a woman who inherited a half acre of land in Shallotte when her grandmother passed away. Lenora Mitchell has been paying the taxes on that property since 2006, but only recently realized that Brunswick County was taxing her for twice as much land as she actually owns.
Making matters worse, Mitchell says her grandmother had been paying the inflated bill since 1957. Mitchell contacted the county tax office, looking to have her bill adjusted and requesting a refund for what had been overpaid in years past.
Mitchell says the assistant tax assessor told her it's the taxpayer's responsibility to make sure the legal description of the property is correct, and even if she'd overpaid, she wasn't entitled to a refund.
Since their billing error prompted her to overpay, we contacted the tax office to ask why Mitchell shouldn't get some of that money back. Turns out – she should.
NC General Statute 105-381 allows for refunds to be issued up to 5 years after overpayment of a tax bill.
The same day the tax office provided us with that information - they also called Ms. Mitchell. She says they told her she was due a refund after all, and they should have it processed within three weeks.
So the next time you get a property tax bill - double check to make sure you actually own all the property you are being taxed for, and if you find you have been overtaxed, you do have recourse to get a refund.
Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.